In the seven years Kelly Greene, VP of Mergers & Acquisitions has been with Park Place Technologies, she's facilitated 20 acquisitions. The key to really being good at M&A is doing post-mortems every time then applying what was learned to the next one. That's helped the company establish its M&A playbook.
"There are two core pieces that have really elevated our process around acquiring and integrating companies," she says. "The first is creating a playbook. We have a playbook on the diligence side and a playbook on the integration side. And throughout the 20 acquisitions, we've refined it, made it very specific."
She says, for example, on the diligence side, there's a playbook for almost every scenario — a company based only in the U.S., one that's global, under or over a certain amount of revenue, etc. That means when the company finds a prospect, they can pull the playbook that best aligns with them, needing to make only a few adjustments based on what's known about the seller. That enables them to get through the diligence process quickly because they're never starting from scratch.
"On a small acquisition, we could close within 45 days," she says. "Usually, that's about our average. On a larger one, it can take anywhere from two to three months."
Through the acquisitions she and the company have made, she says they determined the process was putting a lot of pressure on the company's functional leaders, especially around the integration aspect. To keep them focused on running the business, the company built a team it calls their M&A Specialists. These are occasional workers who flex with when there is acquisition or integration work that needs to be done.
"We started with a few people who were ex-Park Place employees who decided to be stay-at-home moms, and that's the only reason that they left us. They were great employees but really wanted to be home with their children — didn't want to work full-time anymore. We started pinging them and saying, Would you be interested in working part time if you could do it from home. And they were like, Absolutely, would love to. We built a team that started with two or three people to now 25. And so we have this team that every time we do an acquisition, they help us load all the contracts into our systems, do all the financials and help on the inventory side of the house. It has been a deal changer for us. It takes away some of the pressure for the business unit leaders and really allows this team of people that really wanted to continue building their career but also have the availability to be working from home and taking care of their children. Sometimes they're working nights when the kids go to sleep or when they're napping, whatever. As long as the work gets done, that's all that matters."
Greene spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about how she's developed her M&A process during the years. Hit play to catch the full discussion.